this week can also include conferences, a final research day or
time to catch up in class if needed.
always, remember to introduce and conclude your lessons with previews
and reviews. Use transitions to maintain a connection between
daily classroom activities, assignments, and portfolio and course
(create activities and allot time as you see fit)
Most likely, despite
the fact that you have now demonstrated the shared perspectives/approaches
analysis at least three times in class, some students will still
be confused about how to move from their analysis of individual
sources (the Position Analyses) into an analysis of shared perspectives
or approaches as aided through the Composite Grid. The goal for
the activity today is to guide their thinking by providing an
illustration of the process of arranging individual positions
into shared perspectives or approaches. This activity will prepare
students for the analytical thinking that we ask them to do in
the issue analysis portion of this portfolio.
Use the board and follow
a.)Choose a large topic such as gun control and ask
students to write down what they think about this topic. Which
arguments do they support and oppose around this topic?
b.)Write students responses on board. Try to generate
a large list of maybe 8-10 possible responses or reactions to
this topic, e.g.,
c.) If students don't include reasons for their positions,
ask them why they take these positions. Explain that positions
and perspectives are located inside the "why" or "because" statements
associated with reasons. Include a reason to support each view.
d.)Then, ask students to look for common threads or
themes that cut across each response. Have them group the many
responses into common approaches (maybe 3 or 4). Encourage them
to create narrow categories (beyond pro and con). As you group
positions into approaches, ask them to be attentive to what factors
determine how positions get grouped (writers with common purposes,
audiences, beliefs, values, background experiences, etc…)
e.)Once you've arranged positions into 3 - 4 approaches,
label each group with a phrase that accurately represents each
the group. Explain to students that this is what they'll need
to do with their own issue to complete the News and Issue portion
of Portfolio 2.
f.)Then, tell students that you're going to use this
arrangement to illustrate what they'll need to think about for
the issue analysis. The issue analysis will ask them to critically
analyze the social and cultural factors that have shaped these
positions and approaches. Students will need to consider why
people take the positions they do. What has influenced their
viewpoints? This is an essential step in the writing process,
because in order for a writer to make an effective argument advocating
his or her own views, he or she needs to understand where others'
views come from. Also, in understanding others' views a writer
is encouraged to look beyond personal (sometimes limited) views,
and seek a fuller understanding of an issue. Often, a writer will
change his or her original position based on new understanding
of the origins of other writers’ positions.
Discussion of explanations
for shared perspectives/approaches
Ask students to discuss
the social and cultural factors that have informed the approaches
they’re seeing in the gun control debate. Use the following questions
to guide the discussion:
What historical events
might have influenced these approaches? (terrorist attacks,
What personal events/experiences?
(a robbery at home or a break in)
What laws may have influenced
these approaches? (background checks, safety locks)
What values are associated
with each approach? (safety, freedom, choice,)
What are the goals or
purposes for each approach? (to allow guns but make them safer,
to eliminate gun sales, to allow gun sales for all…)
If each approach became
an argument, who would be the target audience for that argument?
How might purpose and
audience shape the way those who take this approach present
or "spin" the issue?
In turn, how might the
various presentations of the issue affect the way readers react
to it and thus affect the course of the debate? (Emotional appeals
involving Columbine may create overly sympathetic readers who
ignore rational arguments for gun use or scare tactics
used by the NRA may frighten readers into supporting gun use.)
Finish by asking students why it might
be important to think critically about the social and cultural
forces that shape a conversation about an issue. Why might this
be worthwhile for a writer to consider as he/she constructs an
Analysis (create activities and allot time as you see fit)
to transition closely between the first activity that reviews
grouping and your discussion of the Issue Analysis.
Review guidelines for
the Issue Analysis
Have students revisit
the guidelines for the Issue Analysis. This is the last
level of analysis we are asking them to do in this unit although
they will have done all the process work as they create their
groupings in the Annotated Bibliography. The Issue Analysis,
then, asks to students to explain in writing why they
have grouped the sources in the way they did and to foreground
the thread or theme that holds the approach together. These
points should also tie to the issue (why does NRA view gun control
the way it does?) and how each approach shapes the way the issue
is seen by the public eye (the NRA's appeals to our "right
to bear arms" highlights the "constitutional" aspect
of the issue).
Show students a sample
(see the Appendix) and/or have them practice in class with a class
example before writing their own explanations
Design an activity that
incorporates the sample Issue Analysis from the Appendix and/or
an activity that has students create an explanation in small groups
or as a class. For the latter, you might find a series of
brief articles from the NYT (or use ones we have used
before) that you believe create an approach to an issue.
Have students read through the articles and then identify the
thread/theme that holds them together in a approach. On
an overhead, have students write out their explanation of the
approach to present to the rest of the class.
You can also allot class
time to students creating their own approaches. Have students
bring in their sources and their Annotated Bibliographies.
If you haven't had them group their sources yet, allow them time
to create approaches and label them with short title (e.g. The
Children's Safety Approach). Then have them freewrite (with
or without looping) an explanation of why the sources belong in
The main elements of
each explanation should include (but need not be limited to) the
What is the approach
What common values or
beliefs (individual or cultural/social) do the sources hold?
What common concerns
do the sources represent?
What is the purpose(s)
shared by the sources?
Is there a vested interest
that holds the sources together?
Is there a common need
represented by the sources?
It is important to remind
students, too, that we are not looking for pro/con approaches
and ideally we'd like them to avoid pro/con and "something
in between" as well. This means an approach could look
like the following:
Issue: Is the Death
Penalty the most effective way to deal with murder in our society?
Approach #1: Crime
Approach #2: Religious
Approach #3: Law
Approach #1 is comprised
of sources that all center on crime deterrence.
But some of the sources feel that the death penalty deters crime
while others feel it does not. The same goes for
Approach #2; some people that associate themselves with religion
feel that it is not humans' right to kill because, for example,
the Christian Bible advises not to kill, while others align themselves
with the "eye for an eye" mentality. Finally,
many people involved in the Approach #3 feel that the death penalty
is not the only way to deliver justice to victims and others feel
that the death penalty alleviates full prisons and reduces taxpayers'
While this example is
not perfect, it does illustrate how students can go beyond pro/con
in their Issue Analysis.
the day’s activities (3 minutes)
to conclude each class session. When you or a student does
this, take special care to make clear their connection to both
Portfolio 2 and larger course goals. Take care to provide some
sort of conclusion to each class.